I went down

Way down. So down that I emptied my fear in tears to my very supportive, loving, (and professional) mother. So down that I had to hide things from myself.
Too many emotional encounters brought on a snowball of depression.
A situation where pain seemed to have exceeded the resources to cope.

Are you surprised? "I had no idea!" Of course you didn't... I don't share the misery of my pitfalls (but I am now, so be gentle). And that's the tricky thing about PTSD and depression. One moment, I'm perfectly ok. But the next, I'm lost, exhausted, lonely, sad. Desperate. So it's kind of hard to share where I am or reach out to anyone; it's so unexpected.

But that's kind of why I'm sharing this with you now...
Pulling oneself out of a deep hole is next to impossible. I needed help. I'm very fortunate to have a few incredible girlfriends in my life. We spent the next day doing all the things I love, swimming, biking, and running. And even though the workouts themselves were mediocre, the time together was money.
Negative thoughts and feelings need to be smothered in positive ones so we didn't stop there...
We escaped to New Orleans for a mini-vacay for more of what I love and just time together and away. It was exactly what I needed to get out of that hole. A reminder, "you are loved, wanted, needed".

People are making valiant efforts to reduce Veteran suicides. There's a big campaign right now, 22 push-ups for 22 days. But I have to question, what is this really doing for us? Sure it creates awareness, but it seems to me that the effort put into push-ups for self can be given to the person in the hole, the person that actually needs your strength.
All it took for me was a few hours on the phone with my mom, a couple hours working out with me, sharing time, laughing with me, holding my hand, being scared and surprised and then silly and ridiculous with me. Being with me.
A text message, "I'm thinking about you", "Have a beautiful day", "You are important", even, "Are you ok?" goes farther than you can ever imagine.

Raising awareness, creating knowledge...knowledge is power... it's beautiful!! But of what use is awareness if we aren't doing anything about what we learn? With social media, we are aware of cause after cause. We're challenged to perform stunts or change our profile pictures, creating even more awareness... But if I'm not taking true action to make a difference, I just don't understand the point. We are AWARE, but we aren't changing anything. I want to be spurred into action to change an actual life! I want to be involved. I want to SEE change and involvement!

Reminded of how beautiful life can be, given another chance to make a difference, and hearing, "...that's why I reached out to you, I needed a happy and positive YOU in my life." YES! That was me. That IS me!! So, I vow to a few things...

I'm going to find my fight and be engaged.
I'm going to raise awareness AND make an actual difference.
I'm going to make phone calls, send text messages, spend time, and when I can, offer financial support to help others make a difference.
I'm going to be involved.
I'm also going to be positive. I will focus on the good that is in my life.
I will think it, feel it, and speak it.
I will send out vibes of positive energy into the universe.
I will be grateful and humble for all the wonderful things in my life.
I will encourage others to do the same.

Suicidal thoughts don't have to end in suicide. People get through this. Take care of yourself. You are not crazy or weak or selfish or wrong; you are just in pain. And pain is not invincible. We can defeat it together.

*Stop 22 is an awareness campaign to raise money for K9's for Warriors
*disclosure, I am not trying to attack anyone for their awareness raising efforts. I know that many of you are doing great, awesome, wonderful things! You are spreading awareness and quite frankly, action can't happen unless we first make awareness of an issue. Please don't stop there, do more! Whether it's reaching out, spending time, or financial efforts... do more.